SUNTARYNN: THE BEGINNING, PART TWO

As I began to explain in Part One of this little look back at the development of the World of Suntarynn, the scale of the world (as seen on the maps) was enormous. The main reason for this was because, at the time, our gaming group was working just in a small area of the world. The kingdoms of Chenishar, Kendora, and Siritare had begun to take shape, though the region was not yet known as The Retoran Basin. This regional label did not come about until much later. I created a large scale, however, in order to allow for plenty of travel and movement between settled areas and the dungeons and places of adventure. My gaming style has never focused as much on combat as other GM’s. I like to allow plenty of time for the characters to travel, to learn about the world, to explore and use their senses to learn and grow as characters. I also like to encourage my players to create characters that are real, with skills and abilities, with likes and dislikes. To do this, the characters need time to move within the world, and they need time to interact with one another, without the interruptions of combat and possible death.

As it sometimes happens, I was right in my instincts about not creating a rich background for this new campaign world. We only played about five to seven weeks using Suntarynn, and then things kind of fell apart and after another week or two, someone else was the GM and we were playing a new game.

I didn’t abandon this new world, though. I had locked onto some great ideas, and I wanted to keep moving ahead. I had already created one fantasy world, Allewynn, which was designed more for story and novel writing than it was for gaming. This new world had been created almost specifically for gaming, and I wanted to develop it further, in case I had the chance to use it again in the future. I began drawing more of the world and ended up with over twenty pages of maps. The scale was still big and this world was simply gigantic. I added forests and lakes, mountains, towns and cities, and started naming things. As all of this went on, more of the “modern” history began to fall in place, and dungeons, castles, and other places of adventure began to find their homes within the world.

As time went on, I redrew the maps several times. Many times, the world stayed mostly the same as it was. I redrew because a map or two had been messed up; I redrew because I simply wanted the maps to look better and I wanted the world to be clearer to me. At one point – I really am not sure when – I redrew the maps and changed the scale. I made the scale smaller and I had to move things closer together. This took quite a bit of work. I wanted to make sure that the world didn’t appear squished. I also wanted to make sure there was still plenty of space for characters to move and travel, and that there was still plenty of space for hidden secrets and sleeping creatures that could wreak hate and destruction upon the world in the days to come. I ended up chopping some places out of the world and moving entire kingdoms and regions to an entire different area of the world. And, again, this took quite a bit of effort. Sometimes, many weeks would go by without any drawing or new creating being done; I just had to mull things around in my mind and try to figure out how to make it all work.

Sometime in 2008, I believe, is when I started work on what would eventually become the Questing Heroes Role Playing Game. The final product took several years to develop, minus the year or two it took to edit, revise, and finish the “look” of the rules book. All of this took a year or two because, to be completely honest, it was very hard to work up the motivation to sit down and perform the tedious work that needed to be done. It was at the time, however, I realized that this new game system might need a setting in which it could be played. I decided that Suntarynn (still not called Suntarynn yet) could be the perfect setting. My other fantasy world was much more fleshed out and had much more information already written, but because of the type of fantasy world that it was, it just would not work for Questing Heroes; this first fantasy world was a two-god world. There was one Good God and one Evil God, and I knew that I wanted Questing Heroes to allow for more than one god. Perhaps I was allowing conventional role playing game systems to effect my thinking on this, but it had been decided and that was that.

During that year or two it took me to finish writing the Questing Heroes rules book, I once again redrew the maps for Suntarynn. This time, the maps were redrawn with a purpose. I was also able to start adding more history to the world, along with new places of adventure. I was able to start creating a current timeline and current stories, plot ideas for other players and GM’s to use for their games. I would like to say that things went along a little more smoothly than they had previously, but that simply is not the truth. If anything, it was a little more difficult to redraw some of the maps this time. I went through numerous drafts of the world before I settled into the form and borders that we see today. Even after getting the whole world outlined and placing all of the kingdoms and regions that were named and developed, I still occasionally had doubts and, every so often, I would attempt to redraw certain portions of the world. I never did get anything that I liked more than what we have today, though.

And so, that was pretty much how it happened. I gave this new world a new name, Suntarynn, near the beginning of 2016. I started writing more and more down and keeping track of all of the ideas I developed for this new world. Then, in July of 2016, Fantasy Game Strategies was founded and we published our Questing Heroes Role Playing Game. In January of 2016, we decided that we had enough of the World of Suntarynn maps drawn to introduce the world to the public. As we have stated, it is an ongoing project, and we update the maps PDF on DriveThruRPG as we get more completed.

All in all, it has been a massive project developing the World of Suntarynn. Of course, I wouldn’t expect anything different from a fantasy campaign setting. It has been a great deal of fun, though, and I don’t think I would changed anything about the experience.

Matthew Ipock

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